Mama Tears, Mama Fears: New School Year, New Chapter

It’s that time of year again. Teachers’ classrooms are freshly invigorated with unfamiliar students and crisp bulletinboard decor. Students sport squeaky new shoes and summer tans. Parents sigh a breath of relief, having survived the final days of summer and seek solace in the reprieve from child-wrangling or piecemeal childcare arrangements of summer. Except for me.


From pool bag to school shoes

I’m the one feeling like the odd duck; the unicorn parent who is not excited for school to begin. At all. Instead of rejoicing my additional freedom and pumpkin spice everything, I’m mourning the end of my favorite season of long days spent outside in the sunshine, soaking in my kids, the sand, the sea, the memories. I know full well my children were equal parts adorable and asshole, but I don’t care. I’m self-loathing, wishing days of togetherness with my demanding darlings instead of hours of respite.

I’m lamenting the return to school year rush and the rigid routine I feel forced, not innately inclined, to institute. I shudder at the coming winter, as if a character from “Game of Thrones.” looking ahead towards an invasion of the zombie-like icy White Walkers: WINTER IS COMING! 


School days are here

Mostly, though, I’m crying for a closing chapter I desperately wish to pry open. I shed tears recollecting where we used to be, who my children were (even just at summer’s beginning), how fast it all has progressed. I smile recalling memories of exhaustion and cuteness, milestones and regressions, overcome worries and hard-won lessons. I am warmed by gratitude for having been granted this life experience of motherhood, for being willing and able to accept the ass-kick of corporate lay-offs to shove me from cubicle to stay-at-home mom life. I feel a mixture of unsettling uncertainty and hopeful optimism knowing that we are all progressing — as individuals and as a family — towards our future selves.

I know we were where we needed to be, we are where we’re supposed to be, and we’re going where we’re intended. I’m still scared. Still sad. Still hopeful. Still reflective. Still uncertain.

Just as I am optimistic yet unclear as to who my children will be, what their futures will look like, I am similarly hopefully and anxiously unknowing of my own path ahead. Who will I be when I grow up?

Who do I WANT to be?

A mom. I want to be a mom. “You will always be a mom”, people say. But I fear the unknown. The unfamiliarity of mothering older children, teens, adults. I fear not being needed. Not being wanted. Those days will come, as they should (if I’ve done my job right), for raising independent, resilient children is my goal. But I hope they don’t come too soon.


With my youngest entering preschool, this is my first time having all of my children in school. Grocery trips alone, a walk through Target or DSW or Homegoods unencumbered by tantrumers or snack requests? A quiet morning spent however I choose, whether on a walk, flowing through yoga, sipping coffee with friends, folding laundry, or sitting on my ass in a quiet house? What an unfamiliar circumstance!

I am in for a whole new chapter. More freedom. More time. More ability to uncover who I want to be as opposed to simply who they need me to be. Am I ready for the answer?

Growing Pains

#2 and #3 wore these. Will I ever cuddle another babe close in these?

#2 and #3 wore and outgrew these. Will I ever cuddle another baby close in these fleece footies?

It never gets easier, packing away my children’s outgrown clothes. Folding and boxing memories. I tearfully hold up footie pajamas to see the outline of my growing child’s former frame. I touch the worn cotton of favorite shirts, feeling memories seep through the threads.

As I pack away #3’s too-small clothes, I realize it is entirely possible I will never see another of my babies wear these items again. There are so many ifs… if we can manage another child, if we have another child, if it’s a girl, if it’s a boy. My breath catches and my eyes well.

It’s an odd conundrum. Part of me wants one more child… eventually. Part of me thinks that other part is bananas. Do I not have enough on my plate raising 3 children under 5 while simultaneously pumping to feed another’s baby? Is the prospect of potentially filling out a set of fleecy footie pajamas one last time so compelling that it’s worth all of the added time, stress, money (and pregnancy)?

I don’t know. But it’s sad to pack these items away not knowing if I’ll ever feel them close to me again, filled and stretched by the warm girth of my chubby baby. Infancy, babyhood, toddlerhhood, tucked away in storage bins. It never gets easier.